Columbia University Pays Out Accused Rapist Who Inspired Viral Mattress Project

The alleged rapist said it was “very difficult for him and not what Columbia would want any of its students to experience.”

Emma Sulkowicz became an internet icon and feminist hero after her Mattress Project—in which she carried around a mattress similar to the one upon which she was allegedly raped—went viral. Now, Columbia University has paid out the accused rapist, Paul Nungesser, for an undisclosed sum over lawsuits taken out against the school on his behalf, according to The Columbia Spectator.

Nungesser was found not guilty of misconduct by Columbia University, prompting police to drop the investigation. After, he took out lawsuits against the school on the basis of Title IX — he claimed the university failed to protect him from Sulkowicz's protest. Nungessser's original complaint was dismissed by courts, but a second one was recently settled.

Nungesser stressed in his statement that his time after the investigations was “very difficult for him and not what Columbia would want any of its students to experience.”

Columbia has also stated that they will be reforming their policies such that “accuser and accused, including those like Paul who are found not responsible,” are treated with “respect.” Columbia had originally stated that it had no responsibility to censor Sulkowicz.

“We are all truly happy regarding this settlement," said Nungesser's parents to Newsweek. "We fought for almost four years for a statement like the one Columbia released today. It gives Paul a chance to recover from the false accusations against him. We hope that the resolution of the case also ensures that no student will ever have to endure what Paul went through after he was exonerated.”

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recently outraged feminist groups by agreeing to meet with Men's Rights groups, who widely oppose women who come forward with accusations of rape on campus. One of her employees was forced to apologize after incorrectly stating that 90% of rape accusations were false.

[Photo: Getty Images]

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